How to make a ditch look nice?

I have a street drain run-off ditch in my backyard that floods a river when it rains, but when dry, is an eyesore. I need to make it look pretty & natural, but in a cost effective way. Bringing in piles of rocks are expensive, not to mention, would ruin my mower blades when mowing, when I cut close. I need ideas. Thanks.
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